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Laksa Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Coconut Curry Soup)

Posting Date: 06/09/16

Laksa Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Coconut Curry Soup)

Laksa Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Coconut Curry Soup) is similar to Malaysian Laksa and Singaporean Laksa. However, there are several differences. Malaysian and Singaporean Laksa tends to be spicier. In addition, they both use noodles instead of rice vermicelli and shrimp instead of chicken. They normally use dried shrimp and shrimp paste while Indonesian Laksa normally doesn't use any of those, except Betawi Laksa. There are many variants of Laksa in Indonesia which depends on the area. The recipe for this Laksa Ayam is closer to the Laksa found in Jakarta. Laksa is believed to be a mixture of Chinese influence and the local culture in Indonesia. Laksa Ayam is considered as full meal and normally eaten for lunch or dinner. It can be served with rice on the side. In addition, it is sometimes served with chili paste (sambal) on the side in case he/she likes it extra hot. If you are wondering how it tastes like, it tastes like curry soup with rice vermicelli in it. It is delicious and tasty with rich coconut taste. It is good during rainy season when the temperature is not too hot.

For this recipe, I use sambal oelek since it is hard to find fresh red chili pepper in my Asian stores. Also sambal oelek stores well in a fridge and thus, I don't have to worry that it would get bad in a short time. From my experience, sambal oelek is a good substiture for chili pepper since it has no added garlic, so it doesn't compromise the taste of the food. I only use 1/2 teaspoon of sambal oelek which makes it taste mild. However, you can add more if you like the heat. In the recipe, I list fried onions as optional. However, I suggest you to use it if you can find it since it adds texture and flavor. In the cooking instructions, the rice vermicelli is cooked in the broth for 1 min. So, make sure you don't overcook it since it finishes the cooking in the broth. I noticed without finishing to cook it in the broth, it became flavorless.

To save time cooking a dish, Indonesian food companies came up with an idea to make instant seasoning mix which is used to replace the spice paste you would normally have to make it yourself. There is also Laksa Ayam instant seasoning mix. So, if you want to save time, you can omit all the spice paste ingredients and substitute it with Laksa Ayam instant seasoning mix.

This recipe serves for 2 people.


  • 1 bundle of rice vermicelli
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced lengthwise to half
  • For spice paste: 1 medium size of shallot, quartered. It will be processed in food processor. If your shallot is small in size as what you normally get when you buy it in Asian grocery stores or some regular grocery stores, you will need to use 2 small size shallots.
  • For spice paste: 4 cloves of garlic, halved. It will be processed in food processor.
  • For spice paste: 2 pieces candlenuts
  • For spice paste: 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek (you could add more if you like heat) or 1 Thai red chili pepper (you could add more if you like heat). I use Huy Fong brand for sambal oelek since they don't add shrimp paste or garlic to it and thus, I got the chili pepper I need without any other flavors I don't want.
  • For spice paste: 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • For spice paste: 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • For spice paste: 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), smashed
  • 1 boneless and skinless chicken breast or 2 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, chopped to very small bite size. Smaller size makes the chicken more flavorful because it absorbs more of the spice paste during stir frying.
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1.5 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon of mint leaves, minced
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon fried onions


  1. Cook rice vermicelli according to package directions. Do not overcook it since we will finish cooking it in the broth. Once cooked, drain and rinse it couple times so that it will not stick with each other. Set it aside on a colander so that it can drain any excess water.
  2. Add shallot, garlic, candlenuts, sambal oelek, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and ginger into food processor. Process them until they become smooth paste.
  3. Turn on the stove to medium high. Add vegetable oil into a pot and let it heat up. Add spice paste into the pot and saute it until it is cooked.
  4. Add lemongrass into the pot and saute it for 1 min.
  5. Add chicken into the pot and stir fry it to make sure it is covered with the spice paste while it is being cooked. This will make the chicken more flavorful.
  6. Add water and coconut milk into the pot. Stir to mix them. Add salt, sugar, chicken bouillon, and pepper into the pot. Stir the pot to mix the seasoning.
  7. Once the liquid is boiling, taste it and add more sugar, salt, and pepper if needed. Reduce the heat to simmer and let it simmer for 10 min.
  8. Add rice vermicelli and green onion into the pot and stir it for 1 min so that the rice vermicelli is coated with the liquid and spice paste. This will make the rice vermicelli more flavorful. When you just add it to the bowl just before the liquid is poured into the bowl, it has no flavor at all. However, don't let rice vermicelli cook in the pot for more than 1 or 2 min since it will be overcooked and soft.
  9. Turn off the heat. Discard lemongrass.
  10. Divide the content of the pot into 2 bowls.
  11. Top each bowl with hard boiled eggs, bean sprouts, mint leaves, and fried onions. Serve while it is still warm.

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